Pictures from Senegal

Thursday, May 12

Marketing Plan

If I had to define the nature of my work in Senegal in one word it would be “marketing.” If you gave me a few more, I might be tempted to add “Microsoft Publisher.” But marketing could sum up most of what I spend my time talking, thinking, or dreaming about and generally working on project wise.
I’ve left no page un-turned, translated, or attempted in the PC issued book on Marketing in Western Africa. There are even mosquito carcasses and dried moisture rings from cups due to late-night over usage. Heck, its own cover has long since ditched this party. I guess what I’m saying is “Dear PC, I recommend investing in another copy of this one for my replacement. Love, Alys.”

All seriousness continued, this book recently took a turn guarding Aida’s night stand. We walked through some of the more relevant pages together and I left her to read the rest on her own time. In the mean time, we were to each generated some ideas to try out for Aida’s plan of action.  Let us know what you think…

My Ideas

Chicken Stir Fry!
Brainstorming New Products: When my sister came to visit she brought with her a few random cookbooks she’d had lying around. Luckily, the pictures accompanying the recipes are quite enticing. One day, while we sat around making a traditional Senegalese meal together, Aida joked about me teaching her an American dish. Hungry PCVs can attest, you don’t joke about these things. I quickly brought her the cookbook and translated four recipes: Keys Style Citrus Chicken, Stir Fry, Seafood Jambalaya, and Garlic and Sage Beef Pot Roast. They were the most delicious looking items with ingredients not too hard to come by in Mboro. We kicked off the fun with stir fry… and it’s a HUGE hit! Word is starting to spread among regulars about the new American dishes available and Aida couldn’t be more proud of her creation.

Meal Deal: The idea would be to come for lunch or dinner and get a complete meal. Think kids meal at McDonalds’ without the toy. We’d offer the plate of the day plus a piece of in-season fruit for dessert and either a cold drink or traditional Senegalese tea. We’d offer a set price for the package even though plate and fruit prices may vary.

Flyers: Aida couldn't ask for a better location than the main street through Mboro. But her horribly obvious location is only attracting the customers wandering the streets by foot. So I figured why not tip the scales by focusing on more upwardly financially stable potentials (read: those with cars) with a flyer for our establishment. I envision a quarter page noting Aida’s weekly dishes, as well as a quick note on calling ahead to plan your next work meeting or to have meals delivered to you.

Daily Journal
Client Book: Once day I asked Aida if she remembered the day we met. I’d been hosting trainees and we stopped in for breakfast. Aida was the warmest, most genuine, and least pushy Wolof person we could’ve happened upon. We all loved her instantly and the short of it is: who wouldn’t want to come back time and time again for coffee and work? If her amazing personality is her best attribute then her not so keen memory would be a bit farther down the list. So, I explained the idea of a client book to keep record of her regulars. Names, family info, meal and drink preferences, birthdays and more could be jotted down for quick review. Imagine if this was the Cheers of Mboro and everyone knew your name, favorite meal, and about your crazy uncle…?

Customer Survey: The idea is to hand a quarter page piece of paper to each hungry guest in order to help conduct a market study of our patrons. Who are the customers currently eating with us? How often are they coming and why? What do they love about Restaurant Porokhane? What would they change? What are their demographics: sex, age, town of residence, job and dependants? The list of questions I'd love to have answers for could go on for miles, but we'll have to consider paring down to what would interest Aida to understand.


Aida’s Ideas

Customer Appreciation
Sales Promotion: While we sat reading through the marketing training book, Aida and I discussed sales promotions such as raffles, package deals on complimentary products, and frequent customer programs. Her favorite idea was rewarding repeat customers with a free 16th lunch. It took all of a half day to draft, review, and finalize a quarter page flyer that matches our other publications in format. I printed forty of them on the cheap at the PC office in Dakar… and the program is underway already. I talked to Aida about having a client specific book in conjunction with this idea but for now we’ll just keep track of people in the daily ledger.

Prospectus: I made a one page double sided flyer for my leather worker Demba- to promote his skills and products- and showed it to Aida. She loved the idea and asked me to help her with her own. The details of the flyer are still TBD, but I’m hoping to make one for a tourist audience that could briefly describe dishes and their importance to the locals. Almost like a 411 for new comers to Senegal, but with pricing and directions included.

Updating the Tripod
Menu Board: Outside the front door is a tripod chalkboard that spells out the daily dish to all who pass by. But perhaps you're already inside and wondering what other meals you should come back for? Like the menu you’d find hanging in your favorite fast food joint, this would be a large scale display of all the dishes and their prices. Hopefully a chalkboard can be constructed and mounted on the wall so that later drinks and maybe desserts or other offerings can be added.

Advertisement Board: How else are the people of Mboro going to realize Aida’s open for business on Easter Monday- a national holiday? Everyone too tired from partying is welcome pop around for a bite to eat… a tip they’d know if they read the chalk board (chalkboard paint, why didn’t I think of that???) on the outside wall of the restaurant. We talked about it being a great place to post the news, opening and closing irregularities, and menu announcements.

Watch Specialist's Sign
Billboard: Directly across the street from Aida’s restaurant is a street with a beautifully painted sign advising passersby of a watch repair specialist just a few meters from the main road. We had a discussion one day shortly after starting our training in the 4 Ps of marketing (product, price, place, promotion) where we discussed “if your place isn’t perfectly located, use promotion to ease the disadvantage.” I’m quite impressed that Aida quickly became concerned that because she was on the main road people could easily miss her locale if they drive too quickly down the road. So, she’s commissioned her son to paint a sign to be mounted high on a telephone pole pointing drivers many meters away to her door. 

2 comments:

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